For example, if you jointly own a property with your ex-partner, you may think your new Will protects your current partner. That is not necessarily correct. Whether your share in your jointly owned property passes by your Will depends on how you own the property. A Will may therefore not reflect your wishes unless you take private client advice on your property and property ownership.
How is the family home owned
If you are the joint owner of a property, you could own it with your co-owner as ‘joint tenants’ or as ‘tenants in common’. The legal ownership matters when you are estate planning. If you own property as joint tenants, your share of the property does not pass by your Will but will be automatically inherited by your co-owner. If you own property as tenants in common, your share of the property passes in accordance with your Will or, if there is no Will, under intestacy rules. A specialist Wills Solicitor, can tell you how you own your property if you are not sure.
Severing the joint tenancy when making a Will
If you do not want your co-owner to inherit your share of a property automatically, you can sever the joint tenancy, so you own the property as tenants in common. Severing the joint tenancy means you will not automatically inherit your co-owner’s share of the property on their death, so you need to assess which option is best for you. If you decide to sever the joint tenancy, your solicitor can do this for you.
Lifetime interests and the family home
If your family circumstances are complicated, you may be concerned about leaving the family home (or your share in it) to a new partner because you want to balance the needs of your new husband or wife with the needs of your adult children from a previous relationship. You may be able to achieve an acceptable solution by giving your partner a lifetime interest in the property. That way, they can live in the property during their lifetime and, when they die, the property passes in accordance with your Will.
Whether you own a property in your sole name, or jointly own a property, it is important to make a Will, so your share of the asset passes to the person you want to leave it to. If you buy a property after making your Will it is equally important to check whether your Will reflects the change in property ownership and any new family circumstances, such as a second marriage or the arrival of children and the need to balance how your estate should be shared between your second spouse and your children from your first and any later marriage.
Speak to our Bournemouth-based Wills Lawyers today
Solomons Solicitors [LINK] can help you understand how the ownership of your property could affect your Will and estate planning and advise on your options, so your Will or updated Will meets your changing family circumstances and gives you and your family peace of mind.